The first trailer for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s long-anticipated docudrama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, proved with today’s release that the controversial film deserves its Oscar buzz.
“Zero Dark Thirty” was a tricky project from the beginning. Bigelow and Boal, the Oscar-winning (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) collaborators of “The Hurt Locker,” had to scrap their original script just days before filming when bin Laden was killed.
Then. in response to political pressure, Columbia Pictures moved the film’s original release date from October to December — more than a month after the presidential election.
What does “Zero Dark Thirty” mean? The trailer doesn’t explain, but Bigelow tells Entertainment Weekly that it refers to the “military term for 30 minutes after midnight [as well as] the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission.”
The “darkness and secrecy” surrounding “Zero’s” filming is extended in the enigmatic, strobe-like trailer. Black redaction lines used in top-secret government documents lead from New York City’s Ground Zero site to Abbottabad, Pakistan, where two helicopters are seen approaching Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Among other interstitial shots, we glimpse “Friday Night Lights” star and all-around perfect man Kyle Chandler (as the head of the CIA in Pakistan), as well as Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Jennifer Ehle — just a sampling of the huge ensemble cast.
Based on the trailer, the filmmakers maintain the suspense of “the greatest manhunt in history” despite its foreseeable ending — bin Laden’s (spoiler alert!) death when a Navy Seal team invades his fortress.
“Zero Dark Thirty” hits theaters Dec. 19.